United States District Court, D. Arizona
BRIDGET S. BADE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MOBIT, LLC and James Koch, have filed a motion to dismiss for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction, pursuant to Rules
12(b)(1) and 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. (Doc. 10.) The motion is fully briefed. (Docs. 11,
18.) As set forth below, the Court grants Defendants'
matter, Plaintiff Kristina Rueling asserts claims for failure
to pay minimum wages under the Federal Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219, and
failure to make timely payment of wages under the Arizona
Wage Act, Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 23-351, 23-353, and
23-355. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant MOBIT LLC
is a mobile marketing company, Defendant James Koch is the
owner of MOBIT LLC, and that she was a sales representative
and full-time employee of these Defendants from August 2017
until November 2017. (Id. at ¶¶ 8-11,
November 20, 2017, Plaintiff provided a one-week notice that
she would be resigning. (Id. at ¶ 19.)
Plaintiff alleges that she was terminated that same day and
that Defendants did not pay her final paycheck for work she
performed between November 1, 2017 and November 20, 2017.
(Id. at ¶¶ 19-20.) Plaintiff estimates
that her final paycheck should have been “around $5,
000.” (Id. at ¶ 20.) Plaintiff alleges
that she requested her paycheck several times. (Id.
at ¶ 21.) Plaintiff seeks unpaid minimum wage
compensation, liquidated damages, and statutory penalties for
Defendants' alleged violations of the FLSA. (Id.
at ¶ 2.) Plaintiff seeks unpaid wages, treble damages,
and statutory penalties for Defendants' alleged
violations of the Arizona Wage Act. (Id. at ¶
their motion to dismiss, Defendants assert that MOBIT LLC is
a Delaware-based company that has no employees and no
contractors. (Doc. 10, Ex. 2.) Defendants assert that MOBIT
LLC never had a contract with Plaintiff. (Id. at 2,
n.2; Ex. 1 at ¶¶ 3-5.) Defendants further assert
that Plaintiff was a contractor with a New Zealand-based
company called MOBIT Technologies Ltd. (Id.,
Ex. 1 at ¶¶ 2-3.) In response to the motion to
dismiss, Plaintiff refers to “MOBIT” and does
specify whether she is referring to Defendant MOBIT LCC, or
MOBIT Technologies Ltd, an entity that has not been named as
a defendant in this matter. (See Doc. 11.) Plaintiff
states that on December 12, 2017, and again on February 6,
2018, “MOBIT” asked Plaintiff to release her
claims in exchange for $5, 000 and she rejected these offers.
(Id. at 2-3.)
March 15, 2018, MOBIT Technologies Ltd. wired $5, 000 to
Plaintiff's bank account. (Doc. 10 at 2; see
also Doc. 11 at 3, Ex. 3 at ¶ 5 (Plaintiff
acknowledges the wire transfer, but states it was from
“MOBIT” and does not specify whether the funds
were from MOBIT LLC or MOBIT Technologies Ltd.).) Defendants
state that this amount addresses the wages allegedly owed to
Plaintiff under her contract through November 20, 2017, plus
an additional sum. (Doc. 10, Ex. 1 at ¶ 8.)
Plaintiff's bank charged her $20.00 for the transaction.
(Doc. 11, Ex. 3.) Plaintiff asserts that she “rejected
the tendered offer of settlement.” (Id., Ex.
6.) Defendants' counsel notified Plaintiff's counsel
that MOBIT Technologies Ltd. had paid Plaintiff in full and
asked that Plaintiff dismiss the case. (Doc. 10, Ex. 3 at
¶ 3.) Plaintiff refused to do so. (Id.)
Defendants filed the pending motion to dismiss on the ground
that Plaintiff's FLSA claim is moot and, therefore, the
Court lacks jurisdiction over this matter.
Standard of Review
seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of the federal courts must
establish “standing” under Article III of the
United States Constitution. Schmier v. U.S. Court of
Appeals for Ninth Circuit, 279 F.3d 817, 820-21 (9th
Cir. 2002). “The ‘core' or
‘bedrock' elements of standing” are “a
(1) legally recognized injury, (2) caused by the named
defendant that is (3) capable of legal or equitable
redress.” Id. If a party lacks standing, she
may not bring her suit in federal court. Id.
must maintain a live controversy throughout the litigation.
Di Giorgio v. Lee, 134 F.3d 971, 974 (9th Cir.
1998). If an action or claim no longer presents a live
controversy, the action or claim becomes moot and the court
lacks jurisdiction to resolve the underlying dispute. See
Ruiz v. City of Santa Maria, 160 F.3d 543, 549 (9th Cir.
1998) (“Generally, an action is moot when the issues
presented are no longer ‘live' or the parties lack
a legally cognizable interest in the outcome.”)
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Mootness is
a sometimes referred to as “the doctrine of standing
set in a time frame.” U.S. Parole Comm'n v.
Geraghty, 445 U.S. 388, 397 (1980). “A case
becomes moot when interim relief or events deprived the court
of the ability to redress the party's injuries.”
Am. Cas. Co. of Reading, Penn. v. Baker, 22 F.3d
880, 896 (9th Cir. 1994). When a case becomes moot, the party
loses standing, the court loses jurisdiction, and the matter
must be dismissed. Doe v. Madison School Dist. No.
321, 177 F.3d 789, 797-98 (9th Cir. 1999).
Plaintiff's FLSA Claim is Moot
the FLSA, employers must pay the federal minimum wage, at the
rate set by statute, to an employee “who in any
workweek is engaged in commerce or in the production of goods
for commerce, or is employed in an enterprise engaged in
commerce or in the production of goods for commerce.”
See 29 U.S.C. § 206(a). Since July 24, 2009,
the federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour and,
therefore, this is the rate that applies to Plaintiff's
minimum wage claim for hours worked in November 2017.
See 29 U.S.C. § 206(a)(1). Plaintiff, as
“[a]n employee seeking to recover unpaid minimum wages
or overtime under the FLSA ‘has the burden of proving
that [s]he performed work for which [s]he was not properly
compensated.'” Brock v. Seto, 790 F.2d
1446, 1447-48 (9th Cir. 1986) (quoting Anderson v. Mt.
Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680, 687 (1946)).
Count I of the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
violated the FLSA by failing to pay her the minimum wage for
work performed between November 1 and 20, 2017. (Doc. 1 at
¶¶ 20, 33-41); see 29 U.S.C. § 206.
Plaintiff does not allege that she worked overtime. (Doc. 1
at ¶¶ 20, 33-41.) Thus, Plaintiff claims that she
was not paid minimum wage for a maximum of three weeks in
which she worked 40 hours per week. Plaintiff's damages
for Defendants' alleged failure to pay the federal
minimum wage amount to $870 ($7.25 x 120 hours) plus
liquidated damages, for a total of $1, 740 See 29
U.S.C. § 216(b). The $5, 000 that MOBIT Technologies Ltd.
wired to Plaintiff's bank account, less $20 for the
transaction fee, exceeds $1, 740 and, therefore, exceeds the
damages that Plaintiff can recover on her FLSA claim. See
id. Accordingly, Plaintiff's FLSA claim is moot.
See Kouba v. Renzenberger, Inc., 2012 WL 7149410, at
*2 (D. Ariz. Jul. 6, 2012) (plaintiff's claim for unpaid
wages FLSA was moot because defendant tendered to plaintiff
the maximum amount of damages plaintiff could collect),
report and recommendation adopted by 2013 WL 593458
(D. Ariz. Feb. 7, 2013); Orozco v. Borenstein, 2012
WL 3762408, at *2-*3 (D. Ariz. Aug. 29, 2012) (FLSA claims
were moot because defendant had reimbursed minimum wage
employees for the fees deducted from their paychecks and paid
liquidated damages); Evans v. Gen. Mech. Corp., 2012
WL 1450107, at *1 (M.D. Fla. 2012) (“FLSA claims are
frequently mooted when an employer/defendant tenders
Kouba and Orozco, courts in this district
dismissed plaintiffs' FLSA claims after defendants
tendered payment for the plaintiffs' full damages. In
Kouba, plaintiff alleged that his employer violated
the FLSA by failure to pay overtime wages. Kouba,
2012 WL 7149410, at *1. After plaintiff filed suit, defendant
tendered plaintiff one check for the overtime wages and a
separate check for the statutory damages and interest.
Id. Plaintiff cashed the larger check because he
believed it was an admission of wrongdoing by defendant, but
did not cash the smaller check because he did not want to
give up his right to a jury trial. Id. ...